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EN2720 Ethical Hacking 7.5 credits

In this course, you will learn penetration testing, i.e.cybersecurity assessment of computer networks by offensive methods. These methods aim to find and exploit vulnerabilities in software systems. The main project of the course is rigged as a game, where you are required to explore and exploit a virtual computer network in order to exfiltrate specific pieces of data. 

While the course formally only requires the completion of an introductory programming course, it is strongly recommended that you are also comfortable with networking and operating systems. 

Choose semester and course offering

Choose semester and course offering to see information from the correct course syllabus and course offering.

Headings with content from the Course syllabus EN2720 (Autumn 2021–) are denoted with an asterisk ( )

Content and learning outcomes

Course contents

The main activity of the course is a project where students independently attack a corporate computer network with the aim of exfiltrating specific information. The network is rigged by the course responsibles in a virtual environment. To carry out the attack, the students are free to use their imagination and tools available on Internet. Tools for network and vulnerability scanning, platforms for exploit development, command and control, passwork creacking, etc. are presented during the course, but students are free to employ methods and tools of their own choice. 

Intended learning outcomes

Ethical hackers are contracted for practical assessment of computer network security. For an effective defense against cyber attacks, a deep understanding of attackers' available range of action is required. After completed course, the student should therefore be able to

  • perform reconnaissance, identifying and selecting targets for attack, e.g. by means of network scanning
  • identify vulnerabilities in network equipment and applications
  • customize exploits for software vulnerabilities
  • deploy and execute exploits on vulnerable systems,
  • install and use remote access trojans for remote system control
  • identify password files and extract passwords
  • exfiltrate data
  • implement solutions to strengthen the information security of computer networks
  • carry out legal and ethical security testing.

Course disposition

No information inserted

Literature and preparations

Specific prerequisites

Knowledge and skills in programming, 6 higher education credits, equivalent to completed course DD1310/DD1311/DD1312/DD1314/DD1315/DD1316/DD1318/DD1331/DD100N/ID1018.

Recommended prerequisites

We strongly recommend that you have some familiarity with communication networks (for example EP1100 Data communication and computer networks) and operating systems (for example ID1206 Operating systems). If you do not, please plan for significantly a higher course load than otherwise expected.


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Examination and completion

If the course is discontinued, students may request to be examined during the following two academic years.

Grading scale

A, B, C, D, E, FX, F


  • INL2 - Home assignment, 0.5 credits, grading scale: P, F
  • PROA - Project, 7.0 credits, grading scale: A, B, C, D, E, FX, F

Based on recommendation from KTH’s coordinator for disabilities, the examiner will decide how to adapt an examination for students with documented disability.

The examiner may apply another examination format when re-examining individual students.

Opportunity to complete the requirements via supplementary examination

No information inserted

Opportunity to raise an approved grade via renewed examination

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Ethical approach

  • All members of a group are responsible for the group's work.
  • In any assessment, every student shall honestly disclose any help received and sources used.
  • In an oral assessment, every student shall be able to present and answer questions about the entire assignment and solution.

Further information

Course web

Further information about the course can be found on the Course web at the link below. Information on the Course web will later be moved to this site.

Course web EN2720

Offered by

EECS/Computer Science

Main field of study

Computer Science and Engineering, Electrical Engineering

Education cycle

Second cycle

Add-on studies

No information inserted


Pontus Johnson

Transitional regulations

The earlier written assignment INL1 has been replaced by INL2.

Supplementary information

In this course, the EECS code of honor applies, see: